The New Shul

Parshat Vayeshev

In this week’s parashah, Vayeshev, Yosef is sold into slavery in Egypt. Shortly after Yosef begins working in the house of Potiphar in Egypt, the Torah tell us: “And his master [Potiphar] saw that God was with [Yosef], and that God gave him success in everything that he undertook.” Rashi explains that the phrase “God was with [Yosef]” means that “the name of heaven was fluent in his mouth.”

One way to understand Rashi’s comment is that the ease with which Yosef spoke about God was evidence of his closeness to God. How we speak is a reflection of who we are. But there is another way to understand Rashi’s comment. Perhaps he meant that the fluency with which Yosef spoke about God was the source — not merely the evidence — of his closeness. Yosef’s use of sacred language was what brought him close to God in the first place. The more we speak of God the more we make God a living reality in our lives. Words that begin in our mouths end up in our hearts.

One reason why we feel God’s presence more intensely on Shabbat than we do on other days is that Shabbat is so full of sacred language. The day is shaped by the language of prayer and Torah. As a result , we feel that we are spending the day in God’s presence. May the power of sacred language that we experience on Shabbat inspire us to bring more sacred words into the rest of our week as well.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon.
  • Childcare is available on Shabbat mornings from 10 am to noon. Our learning service for grades 2 to 4 is from 11 to 11:40 am.
  • Hanukah begins this Saturday night, December 24. Join us at The New Shul for our Hanukah Coffee House this Saturday night at 7:30 pm. There will be lots of live music and other entertainment by our own local talent. The cost is $5 per adult at the door.
  • On Shabbat morning, December 31, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Naomi Anbar, daughter of Ariel and Marni Anbar.
  • On New Year’s Day, Sunday January 1, and on Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 16, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson St. dining room. Please let us know if you can help.